Reset the system
Geneticists have found the key to eternal youth
RIA Novosti, Nikolay Guryanov
The American biologist claims that he managed to restore youth to the cells of the body — so far in mice, but also with people, according to him, it should work. To what extent this is justified and what actually prevents aging — in the RIA Novosti material.
Reset the cache at the cellular level
Harvard professor David Sinclair is fanatically devoted to the idea of finding the "elixir of youth". The biologist is known both as a populist who allows himself scandalous statements for a scientist about the imminent victory over aging, and as a really talented researcher — his works are published by the largest peer-reviewed journals, and none have yet been withdrawn.
After a series of failures in the development of anti-aging drugs, Sinclair, it seems to him, has found a way to reverse the withering of the body's cells. He suggested that the problem is in the epigenome — molecular tags on DNA. This is a kind of superstructure over the genes, regulating their activity. Over time, epigenetic noise accumulates there, reducing the effectiveness of genes. The scientist believes that if we reset this noise (similar to how we clear the cache in the browser), the cells will "remember" their youth and regain the functions and abilities lost as they age, for example, to regeneration.
Sinclair published a paper on this topic in Nature in 2020. A team of scientists under his leadership reprogrammed the retinal ganglion cells of mice so that the ability to recover lost with age returned.
The cells were reprogrammed with "Yamanaki factors" — special proteins used by Japanese scientists Shinya Yamanaka and Kazutoshi Takahashi turned adult skin cells into embryonic ones (for this they were awarded the Nobel Prize in 2007).
To eliminate the risk of cancer, Yuancheng Lu, a geneticist from Sinclair's laboratory, selected three of the four factors and added them to a harmless virus specially designed to deliver "rejuvenating" proteins to damaged mouse retinal cells. After injection into the eye, the necessary genes were turned on by an antibiotic fed to rodents. As a result, the neurons in the eyes of the aged mice acted like those of the young.
This achievement, however, did not convince the scientific community of the fidelity of the epigenetic theory of youth. First you need to reproduce the results on other animals and explain the mechanism of the process more precisely.
Sinclair continues to experiment. There are no new scientific articles from his team yet, but he talks about success. He recently reported that he has already reversed the aging of the muscles and brain of mice and is now engaged in general rejuvenation. And this is much more difficult than with the retina.
"In the retina, the improvement of one element affects the entire organ. With muscles, too, it is not difficult. There are a lot of muscle atrophy, where gene repair can lead to victory over diseases that were previously considered hopeless. But the situation with the brain is different. The correction of nerve cells does not always help brain activity," explains the candidate of medical sciences, scientific consultant of the innovation center "First Line" Yaroslav Ashikhmin.
According to him, for real rejuvenation, it is necessary to restore the functions of the tissue.
"Rejuvenation of some tissue does not guarantee its proper functioning. The tissue consists not only of cellular elements, but also of a kind of building material around — we call it the intercellular matrix," the source tells RIA Novosti.
Sinclair is sure that the "backup copy" of information about youth found by him can be included in the human body. Although it is recognized that it will take many years to conduct human trials, verify the safety of the method and get the approval of the authorities.
In the meantime, he is testing different ways to combat aging on himself. Not everything that an American biologist uses is recognized as useful.
There is no magic pill yet
Rejuvenation is easy to "sell" to investors, so many scientific teams around the world are dealing with the problem of aging. In addition to reprogramming cells, telomeres are lengthened (the end sections of chromosomes whose contraction is associated with age), injections of cerebrospinal fluid are made, certain proteins are affected, and so on. However, it is still far from the implementation of any of these methods into practice.
"People are looking for some kind of magic pill, but there is no one," Ashikhmin states. — But charlatans sell "rejuvenating" supplements. Dietary supplements that prolong life do not exist today for sure."
On the other hand, there are many scientific recommendations for prolonging youth, confirmed by serious research. Scientists have no doubt about the effectiveness of physical activity, proper nutrition and mental well-being.
When doing physical exercises, of course, you need to take into account the state of health and the capabilities of the body, but you can not completely abandon sports in any case.
"After correcting risk factors, even people with serious heart diseases can get aerobic exercise. It is not necessary to shirk under the pretext of poor health," Ashikhmin emphasizes.
You should not overeat and significantly reduce the consumption of red meat. "Calorie restriction, a Mediterranean diet, and possibly interval fasting will help," the therapist adds.
Mental well-being is ensured, in particular, by psychotherapy, yoga, body-oriented practices, the absence of depression and social isolation. And it is also important that a person has a purpose in life.
Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl believed that it is necessary to strive not for happiness as such, but for a high goal — and then happiness will simply become a "side effect". David Sinclair, no matter how you treat him, has such a goal in life. Maybe that's why the 52-year-old American biologist really looks young.
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